Norwich Cathedral marks 1,000 Covid-19 victims
A poignant memorial inside Norwich Anglican Cathedral bears silent witness to the more than 1,000 people who have now died from Covid-19 across Norfolk.
The terrible milestone was passed over the weekend and with each sad death due to the pandemic, a tiny cross has been added to the memorial, surrounding a lit candle.
Rev Canon Andy Bryant, the Cathedral’s canon for mission and pastoral care, began placing the crosses last June and said it had been "heart-rending" to have to place so many more since the start of the year.
He told the EDP: "Last week I added 180 crosses. It is the strangest feeling when I am kneeling there.
"Behind each of them there are real people and real suffering. Families have lost people who are really close to them.
"If they were elderly, then they might have died before they were expected to. Maybe family members could not be there with them when they died and maybe they have not had the sort of funeral they would otherwise have had. I find it in turns, moving, upsetting and indescribably sad. There's a sense of helplessness in that laying these crosses is all we can do."
Andy carefully measures out the spaces between each of the crosses before placing them and said it was important to show that level of respect. "When we began in June, we laid 461 crosses and now it is more than 1,000.
"Over the summer there were times when we did not lay any and it felt hopeful. But then a trickle started again and since the New Year it has just been heart-rending. And the question is 'how many more?' I fear there are lot more crosses I shall need to lay down.”
Canon Bryant said families who had lost loved ones to Covid-19 had visited the cathedral to see the crosses. He said: "There was a family who came in because it was the birthday of their loved one and the cathedral was where they wanted to come as part of marking that.
"One of the reasons we created the memorial was that we did not want these people to be forgotten as the lockdown eased. And I think it still serves that purpose. And I think it shows why the lockdown is needed. You see the number of crosses and it makes the numbers real. Standing there and seeing them all is such a powerful reminder of what this is all about."
And the Bishop of Norwich has spoken of how each cross represents not just a victim of the virus, but those who loved them and NHS workers who cared for them.
Bishop Graham Usher said: “It was poignant and shocking to see how many more crosses have been added to the temporary memorial in Norwich Cathedral when I was there on Sunday.
"Each tiny cross representing not only an individual’s life taken by Covid-19, but the ongoing impact and grief that their passing has had on their loved ones and the medical professionals who cared for them. May they all know the comfort and love of the Lord Jesus.”
Article extracts from EDP24.
Pictured above is the Covid-19 memorial at Norwich Cathedral in January 2021, when the number of deaths across Norfolk from the pandemic passed 1,000. - Credit: Bill Smith / Norwich Cathedral
Click here or below to listen to a poem by Malcolm Guite from his Quarantine Quatrains with pictures by Bill Smith.